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China Opens World's Biggest Telescope

It's already detected a distant pulsar

(Newser) - The world's biggest telescope is now scanning the skies from a remote area in southwest China. The Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Telescope—or FAST, which takes the title of world's biggest telescope from the 300-meter Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico—officially opened on Sunday and will now commence what... More »

With Radio Telescope's First Image, 1.3K Galaxies Revealed

MeerKAT radio telescope will only get more impressive

(Newser) - Scientists promised it would be the world's most powerful radio telescope, capable of exploring dark energy, black holes, and traces of the universe's creation 14 billion years ago. South Africa's MeerKAT has already exceeded expectations. Though operating at a quarter of its eventual capacity with 16 of... More »

China Completes World's Biggest Telescope

The search for ET is now based in Guizhou province

(Newser) - Extraterrestrial life could soon join gunpowder and papermaking on the list of great Chinese discoveries. According to Xinhua , the final piece was on Sunday fitted on FAST—the Five-hundred-meter-wide Aperture Spherical Telescope, which happens to be the size of 30 football fields. The installation in Guizhou province in southwest China... More »

Ancient Humans May Have Made Giant Telescopes 6,000 Years Ago

That's 5,600 years before telescopes were invented

(Newser) - Telescopes as we think of them date back 400 years to the Enlightenment. But astronomers studying huge tombs in Portugal believe ancient humans were making their own stargazing instruments 6,000 years ago, the Atlantic reports. Researchers, who presented their findings Wednesday at the National Astronomy Meeting in Britain, believe... More »

How Astronomers Confirmed the Universe Is Dying

First, you need some really big telescopes

(Newser) - How does one confirm that the universe is slowly dying? For starters, you use "as many space and ground-based telescopes as we could get our hands on." That according to Simon Driver, a principal investigator with the Galaxy And Mass Assembly (GAMA) project. Driver explains that the group... More »

Why Astronomers Hate Roomba's Lawnmower Plans

'It's telescopes vs. robots'

(Newser) - The next big thing in lawn-mowing technology could come from the makers of the Roomba—but first, they're facing a fight with astronomers. That's because iRobot's proposed device would use radio signals to keep the mowers from going rogue and moving off a user's property. Robot... More »

Scientists Find 'Coldest Place in the Universe'

The Boomerang Nebula is minus 458 degrees Fahrenheit

(Newser) - Think winter is cold in your neck of the woods? It's nothing compared to the Boomerang Nebula (also known as the Bow Tie Nebula), where a dying star 5,000 light-years away has created the coldest known place in the universe, Smithsonian reports in a wintery look at the... More »

Mountain Blasted to Build World's Biggest Telescope

'Extremely Large Telescope' will see to edge of universe

(Newser) - To look further into space and time than ever before possible, astronomers needed to get a mountaintop out of the way first. The top of Chile's Cerro Armazones mountain was blasted to rubble Thursday to clear the way for the European Southern Observatory's Extremely Large Telescope, which will... More »

NASA Finds the 'Hand of God'

Stunning image shows material from exploded star

(Newser) - A newly released NASA photo depicts what appears to be an enormous hand floating in space. The "Hand of God," as it's being called, actually consists of the remains of an exploded star, explains. It had been imaged in 2009 using NASA's Chandra X-ray... More »

Mammoth Astronomy Project Goes Live High in the Andes

World's biggest radio telescope will look into darkest regions of space

(Newser) - Today marks the launch of what the Miami Herald calls "one of the most ambitious astronomy projects in the history of mankind": the world's largest radio telescope. The $1.4 billion Atacama Large Millimeter Array finds a home 16,400 feet above sea level in Chile's Andes... More »

Meteor 'Doomsayers' Gain Cred After Russia Blast

Private groups plan to launch detection satellites

(Newser) - Advocates for early space-rock detection are speaking up and sounding a lot less looney since that meteor rocked Russia on Friday, the New York Times reports. At least two private groups are planning to launch satellites for early detection and one wants to mine asteroids for useful metals like platinum.... More »

NASA's 2-Year Hunt for Black Holes Starts Today

NASA's NuStar scheduled to launch from South Pacific

(Newser) - Barring any mishaps, a refrigerator-size telescope will begin its two-year quest to track down black holes today. The Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuStar) is set to rocket into space from an island located between Hawaii and Australia, reports the AP . Once it gets some 350 miles above Earth, it will... More »

See the Satellite That Could Fall on You

Amateur astronomer Thierry Legault took the images last Thursday

(Newser) - The Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite won't hit Earth until tomorrow afternoon , but an amateur astronomer managed to capture images of it tumbling toward us last week. Thierry Legault used a camera attached to a 14-inch telescope to record UARS as it passed over northern France last Thursday, reports the... More »

'Sky Halo' Spotted Over Hawaii

Missile launch stumped astronomers

(Newser) - A strange expanding halo of light captured by a webcam outside an observatory in Hawaii left puzzled astronomers turning to "Citizen Science" for help. Users of the Starship Asterisk determined that a Minuteman III missile had been launched from California the same night and was almost certainly responsible for... More »

Astronomers Spot Most Distant Galaxy

The stars are 13.1B light years

(Newser) - Astronomers in Chile have spotted the most distant galaxy in the universe—some 13.1 billion light years away. Its light has taken almost the whole life of the universe to get to us: The light photons detected by the astronomers started their journey when the universe was just 4%... More »

NASA Releases Explosive Sun Shots

Historic images reveal high-def surface, flares

(Newser) - NASA has released astounding new photos and videos of the sun for the first time revealing high definition, close-up views of the solar surface and exploding flares. The images were captured by the space telescope of the Solar Dynamics Observatory, and are providing historic new insight into sun mechanics, notes... More »

Galileo's World-Changing Telescope Turns 400

(Newser) - On August 25, 1609—400 years ago today—Galileo Galilei introduced Venice to the telescope, and the discoveries it enabled were every bit as revolutionary as Darwinism, writes Peter Walker of the Guardian. With his telescope, a brown stick weaker than today's store-bought models, Galileo detected moon-like phases of Venus,... More »

Amateurs Enlisted to Solve Astronomy Mystery

(Newser) - Scientists are calling on amateur astronomers to help solve the centuries-old puzzle of a super-bright star that goes dim every 27 years. Epsilon Aurigae will fade out from this fall to spring 2011; this time around, scientists are looking to ordinary sky-watchers to provide extra data on the mysterious companion... More »

Despite Its Faults (and Costs), Hubble Remains Crucial

Pricey telescope enhances our understanding of space

(Newser) - The Hubble Space Telescope has expanded our knowledge of black holes, so it’s ironic that critics complain the $9.6 billion device is sucking up money and energy that could be shifted to other programs. But, on CNET, Don Reisinger defends the telescope as earthlings’ best shot at unlocking... More »

Hubble Gets New Camera

(Newser) - The Hubble space telescope got some improved vision today in the form of a new camera. Two Atlantis astronauts completed a seven-hour spacewalk to give the 19-year-old telescope a much-needed upgrade, reports. "Woo-hoo, it's moving out," said astronaut Andrew Feustel after the old camera refused to... More »

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